# Technological evolution fuels growth in fibre optic sensor markets

ISSN: 0260-2288

Publication date: 1 September 1998

## Keywords

#### Citation

(1998), "Technological evolution fuels growth in fibre optic sensor markets", Sensor Review, Vol. 18 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/sr.1998.08718cab.006

### Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

## Technological evolution fuels growth in fibre optic sensor markets

Technological evolution fuels growth in fibre optic sensor markets

Keywords Fibre optics, Sensors

The market for fibre optic sensors is expected to undergo a period of significant growth over the next few years, says a new strategic study by international marketing consulting company Frost & Sullivan. Technological advancements are expected to lead to the creation of new markets, with the in vivo medical biosensor and fibre optic gyroscope (FOG) sectors showing greatest potential for growth.

As manufacturing techniques improve, fibre optic sensors will be increasingly considered for larger consumer markets. Those companies with the ability to identify market opportunities at an early stage are likely to benefit from developing and launching new products onto the market first, thereby gaining a technological lead over competitors.

The most substantial growth is forecast to be generated by markets with the highest level of technological innovation, such as the biochemical and gyroscope markets. However, whilst the market is highly driven by technological advancements, greater end-user awareness and strengthening economic conditions are anticipated to contribute to the growth of the industry, driving total sales in the overall European fibre optic sensors market from US$67.4 million in 1997 to US$126.9 million by 2004.

Graeme Jones, Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan, reports: "Within the last few years, the improving economic conditions and falling prices have resulted in greater optimism throughout the industry, and fibre optic sensors are now being considered for a wider variety of niche applications. In addition, continuing research by companies and academic institutions has led to the development of several new fibre optic sensors".

Growth in the market is expected to be driven by sales of new fibre optic biomedical sensors as well as technological advancements which have led to the inception of such products as the fibre optic gyroscope. In addition, falling prices and better performance will contribute towards growth in areas where more conventional sensors have traditionally dominated the market, for example, the DPP (displacement/position/proximity) sensor market.

DPP sensors currently represent the most important sensor technology in terms of revenues, accounting for just under 53.0 per cent of total sales. Frost & Sullivan expect this market to grow at an above average rate as sales to the packaging, pharmaceutical, and particularly the electronics industry, are forecast to increase.

The chemical sensor market is anticipated to exhibit significant growth over the forecast period as fibre optic methods are increasingly adopted for in vivo continuous monitoring of patient parameters in the medical industry.

The embryonic fibre optic gyroscope market, valued at 1.9 per cent of revenues in 1997, is anticipated to take off during the forecast period as the aerospace industry emerges as the most likely candidate for the commercialisation of these devices.

Chemical sensors are undergoing an intense period of technological development, especially in the biochemical sensor sector. New intravascular devices capable of providing continuous monitoring of blood parameters are expected to increase revenues in the market, whilst strong sales of blood saturate sensors for cardiopulmonary procedures are expected to provide a strong base for the market.

The fibre optic gyroscope is perhaps the most exciting development in the industry due to its many advantages over conventional devices. Going forward, FOGs should become less complex, cheaper and more sensitive to encourage greater acceptance of the technology in the aerospace industry. The industrial and automotive markets also hold some promise if prices can be lowered sufficiently.

Price is a major issue for any company wishing to remain competitive within the market. Though overall prices for fibre optic sensors have been decreasing, they are still comparatively higher than conventional sensors. Certain high-end niche market applications will always require fibre optic sensors. However, the vast rewards for any company developing products cheap enough for use in mass consumer markets, such as the automotive industry, prompt many companies to search for ways of lowering manufacturing costs, the study concludes.

For further information contact Frost & Sullivan, Münchenerstrasse 30, 6032 Frankfurt/Main, Germany. Tel: +49 (69) 23 50 57; Fax +49 (69) 23 45 66.